Hungary bans fur farming of mink, ferrets and more

Posted by Imogen Searra on 26 November 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fur farms are coming under increased scrutiny. Farming animals en masse is an out-dated practice, considering we live in a modern civil society with scores of cruelty-free alternatives and Hungary has joined the party in banning this practice.

Hungary bans fur farming of mink, ferrets and more

This comes after mink fur farms in the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Sweden, and the United States tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in people.

Zoonotic diseases are caused by germs that spread between animals and people. The mistreatment of animals at the hands of humans has sparked a global debate as scientists believe the origin of the COVID-19 virus came from bats or pangolins.

Coronaviruses commonly occur in animals like cattle, bats and camels. The transmission of these viruses was once considered a rarity. It remains unclear, though, how exactly the virus first spread to humans.

Wet markets, the illegal bush meat trade, illegal wildlife trafficking, and fur farming have all come under fire this year.

Hungary’s Ministerial Commissioner of Animal Protection, Péter Óvári, announced a ban on mink, fox, polecats or ferrets, and coypu on Wednesday, November 26.

Human Society International (HSI) has commended the central European country for this decision but is also calling for the ban of chinchilla fur farming too, which occurs in hordes.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said: ‘We applaud the Hungarian government for taking decisive action to ban fur farming of mink, foxes, polecats, ferrets, and coypu in light of concerns about zoonotic disease risks and animal welfare. Although these species are not currently farmed for fur in the country, this ban is more than just symbol politics because there is a very real and present danger that fur farmers from elsewhere in Europe may attempt to move their operations to Hungary and set up shop there.

‘This is a precautionary measure that shuts the door to that happening, and that is a good outcome for human health and animal welfare. However, the ban fails to include chinchilla who are bred in their many thousands for fur throughout Hungary in exactly the same kind of deprived conditions as mink, and who could also be susceptible to viruses. For as long as the animal exploitation of fur farming is tolerated, the potential for reservoirs of animal to human pathogens will persist, and so HSI hopes that the Hungarian government will also consider strengthening its ban by shutting down the country’s chinchilla fur farms too, and make fur farming history in Hungary.’


Picture: Unsplash

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